I'm Coming Out
I was diagnosed with HSV-2 on September 17, 2021.
For eleven days, I've spent hours researching online, talking to friends that are also positive, and learning everything I can about this infection and what my sex life will look like going forward. Or I should say, what I want my sex life to look like going forward.
I'm still reeling from my diagnosis, although I realized within just a few hours after seeing my test results on my patient portal, I have had this infection for years. And years. Possibly more than a decade. I have always referred to my ongoing genitourinary issues as "The Chronic Yeast From Hell", and repeatedly treated them as such.
When I'd get fed up with dealing with what I assumed was my chronic yeast, and I did see the doctor, my tests for yeast, BV, UTI, and all other STIs would repeatedly come back negative. Repeatedly. I know now I have been misdiagnosing myself and have been misdiagnosed by doctors for as long as I can remember. I've also had multiple herpes blood tests with multiple false negatives. I just did not know. Now I know. In so many ways, it's an incredible relief to finally know.
The most troubling outcome of my research has the been radically contradictory information from credible sources, including the CDC, medical research organizations, the State of Washington, large healthcare organizations, and doctors.
Emotionally and psychologically, my feelings of embarrassment over my inconsistent condom use when I preach it constantly to my friends and in my writing, and the pressure of the shame and stigma around this infection, push on my already fragile mental state. I've come to the realization the most effective way for me to deal with this diagnosis is to funnel my frustration, anger, and confusion into advocacy. And there is plenty of work to be done in that area.
This is the most helpful and encouraging information I've found to date.
STIs aren't a consequence. They're inevitable. | Ella Dawson | TEDxConnecticutCollege
Note: This is the video recommended by the American Sexual Health Association (ASHA) which explains the types of tests and their accuracy: Understanding Herpes Testing